With a packed NBA schedule featuring no fewer than 12 games, it's going to be tough to give every worthwhile storyline from Wednesday night its due.
That's great news for you, though, since it means there'll only be room for the choicest nuggets (and Denver Nuggets) of Association action.
Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs kept doing what they do, Kyrie Irving forgot to show up and the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics played a game that nobody on earth should have had to watch. And those were just a few examples from the evening's early entries.
There was also a transcendent performance by Indiana Pacers star Paul George, a decisive statement by Josh Smith and a massive stylistic mismatch between the high-scoring Houston Rockets and Chris Paul's slow-it-down L.A. Clippers.
Spoiler alert: The Clips definitely did not slow things down.
There was something for everybody on Wednesday night, unless "everybody" includes New York Knicks fans. Sorry Gothamites, it might be best if you just moved along.
For a while there, it looked like the San Antonio Spurs were going to drop a theoretically easy win on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But a dominant defensive effort in the second half and a clutch triple by Kawhi Leonard assured the Spurs of a winning record this year. With victory No. 42 in the books, San Antonio can lose out and still finish above .500 this season. Though, based on past precedent, their winning percentage will probably be a little higher than that.
Kyrie Irving completely failed to show up, hitting just two of his 15 field-goal attempts. By contrast, Tony Parker continued his career season by putting up 24 points, dishing out seven assists and pulling down six boards in 34 minutes.
Here's hoping Irving tries to exact some revenge when the two point guards square off in the 2013 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.
Leonard put up a sterling effort overall, but it wasn't his 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks that mattered in the end. Instead, it was his three from the right corner with 2.9 seconds left (on an assist from Parker, of course) that sealed the deal for the Spurs.
San Antonio's stars have provided unparalleled continuity over the past dozen or so seasons, and this game marked the first time Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili have been on the floor together in a month. But it'd be a crime to overlook the contributions of players like Leonard.
Going forward, it's clear that the Spurs' role players will continue to be vital components for the NBA's model franchise.
If there are any children in the room, please ask them to leave. The following description of the game between the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics isn't suitable for their consumption.
Both teams shot under 37 percent, and they combined for a grand total of 140 points. In the end, Boston prevailed, 71-69, but it's hard to imagine anyone watched long enough to see this offensive quagmire through to its conclusion.
Among the gory details, it's worth mentioning that the Celtics scored a season-worst eight points in the third quarter on 4-of-21 shooting. Of course, the Bulls scored only 13 points in the period themselves, so they didn't exactly take advantage.
Neither team came into the game looking like offensive juggernauts, with Chicago ranking 18th and Boston 22nd in offensive efficiency. This performance certainly won't help those figures.
If these teams meet in a playoff series and we have to watch seven games like this one, well...let's just say those contests should come with a TV-MA rating.
After sustaining what he called a dead arm, thanks to an errant elbow to his biceps in the first quarter, Anthony kept right on shooting. In some ways, Melo's persistence makes him a hero. In others, it makes him a selfish chucker.
The truth is probably somewhere in between.
Not to be outdone, new Raptor Rudy Gay hoisted up 21 shots of his own, making just four.
Based on the last two slides, it might seem like all of the offense has disappeared from the Eastern Conference, but the Knicks (No. 2) and Raptors (No. 10) are actually both among the league's most offensively efficient clubs.
Stepping back, the win was Toronto's fourth in a row. Since acquiring Gay, the Raps have gone 5-2 and have looked markedly better. On the other hand, New York has essentially played .500 ball over the last couple of months and it looks like some of their warts (consistency and defensive lapses) could cause some trouble in the postseason.
Averaging 23.5 and nine boards over his last three games, Josh Smith seems to be putting things together at the right time.
Of course, it's hard to know whether he's ratcheting up his play of late because he's committed to propelling the Atlanta Hawks into better playoff position or if he's just looking to make himself more attractive to potential suitors in a trade.
Either way, J-Smoove's 30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and two blocks in an easy 32-point win over the hapless Orlando Magic showed what the 27-year-old free agent-to-be is capable of.
The Hawks are in a strange position with their star; just two games back from the third spot in the East, they'll soon have to make a decision about Smith's future. If they keep him (or at least this version of him) around, they've got a shot to position themselves nicely for a postseason run.
After which, Smith could walk away, leaving Atlanta with nothing.
With games like the one he turned in Wednesday night, Paul George showed everyone why the Indiana Pacers aren't all that worried about the delays in Danny Granger's return.
George tossed up 23 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists against the Charlotte Bobcats, handily surpassing the requisite totals for his first career triple-double.
The first-time All-Star did his best to wash out the bad taste of his 1-of-10 shooting performance against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, and his big night helped the Pacers pull uncomfortably close to the Knicks in the East.
Indiana is now officially a terrifying matchup for whichever team is unlucky enough to face it in the playoffs, and George is a big reason why. With a budding superstar, an elite defense and a dominant group of rebounders, the Pacers are legit.
Full disclosure: George's achievement has an asterisk. He did it against the Bobcats. But still...
Damian Lillard has certainly amassed the best statistical totals of any rookie this year, but Anthony Davis flashed the skills that made him the draft's top selection, as his New Orleans Hornets stung the Portland Trail Blazers, 99-63.
Davis broke out of a wicked slump that saw him average just 10.2 points over his last 10 contests by posting 21 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in just 28 minutes on Wednesday night. He put up a comically high plus-minus figure of plus-24.
In contrast, Lillard shot just 4-of-15 en route to an ugly 12-point night. His plus-minus was a slightly less impressive minus-22.
The Blazers are lucky to have Lillard, who has been terrific for them all year. But it's worth mentioning that Davis—who has played 13 fewer games than Lillard, and therefore probably a long shot to win Rookie of the Year—has a vastly superior PER to Lillard (20.16 to 16.27).
If there were extra points for highlights, the Denver Nuggets might have hung a little closer to the Brooklyn Nets. But because alley-oops and thunderous dunks count just the same as regular ol' layups, the Nuggets fell to the Nets by a final score of 119-108.
JaVale McGee racked up a handful of highlight dunks against his former teammate, Andray Blatche. One such slam involved an amazing three-quarter-court lob from Professor Andre Miller, who has a doctorate in alley-oop throwing. (Don't look that up, just trust me.)
The steadier, less exciting Brook Lopez put up 23 points and eight boards for the Nets, who scored a season-high 119 and won their second straight game without Deron Williams.
The Nuggets won the highlight battle, as is usually the case with their fast-paced style. But they lost the game.
Oh well, at least we've got fun YouTube clips to watch.
Based on the L.A. Clippers' explosive 46-point first quarter, you'd have thought that they (and not the Houston Rockets) played at the NBA's fastest pace.
But it was Chris Paul and Co. who sprinted out of the gate against a Rockets team clearly fatigued on the back end of a back-to-back set. Things cooled off for the Clips after their big opening period, but the 18-point advantage they built was enough to sustain their lead over the game's final 36 minutes.
James Harden sat out after spraining his ankle the night before against the Golden State Warriors, and without its star, Houston was pretty obviously outmatched.
After struggling through the so-called Grammy road trip, the Clippers finally featured their complete starting lineup of Paul, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Based on how they looked in the early going, I'd say it took the unit approximately 0.4 seconds to establish its chemistry.